Neuromuscular Open Access Journals

 This international, multidisciplinary journal covers all aspects of neuromuscular disorders in childhood and adult life (including the muscular dystrophies, spinal muscular atrophies, hereditary neuropathies, congenital myopathies, myasthenias, myotonic syndromes, metabolic myopathies and inflammatory myopathies).Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a multifactorial disease including a cognitive phenotype. It is caused by mutations in the X-chromosomal DMD gene from which dystrophin is synthesized. Multiple isoforms of dystrophin have been identified. The full length dystrophin isoform Dp427m is expressed predominantly in muscle. Other isoforms include: Dp427c, Dp427p, Dp260, Dp140, Dp116, Dp71 and Dp40. The majority of these isoforms are expressed in brain and several hypotheses exist on their role in subtypes of neurons and astrocytes. However, their function in relation to cognition remains unclear. Unlike progressive muscle wasting, cognitive involvement is not seen in all DMD patients and the severity varies greatly. To achieve a better understanding of brain involvement in DMD, a multidisciplinary approach is required. Here, we review the latest findings on dystrophin isoform expression in the brain; specific DMD-associated learning and behavioural difficulties; and imaging and spectroscopy findings relating to brain structure, networks, perfusion and metabolism. The main challenge lies in determining links between these different findings. If we can determine which factors play a role in the differentiation between severe and minor cognitive problems in DMD in the near future, we can both provide better advise for the patients and also develop targeted therapeutic interventions.

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